Melodee Hanes, the girlfriend of Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), attended a ceremony at Department of Justice headquarters Friday honoring newly confirmed Office of Justice Programs head Laurie Robinson.
Hanes, a political appointee who works in a juvenile justice agency under Robinson’s direction, declined to answer questions about the senator’s controversial recommendation of her to be Montana’s U.S. Attorney.
“Not today, no,” Hanes told Main Justice. “No comment today,” she added, before a congressional affairs specialist from the Office of Justice Programs, Sarah Matz, cut off the exchange.
Main Justice was the first to report last Friday that Hanes was one of three lawyers that Baucus recommended to the White House earlier this year to be Montana’s top federal prosecutor. According to Baucus, once their relationship became more intense, Hanes withdrew from consideration to live with the senator in Washington.
President Barack Obama ultimately nominated Michael Cotter for Montana U.S. Attorney. Baucus, the Senate Finance Committee chairman, is leading health care reform efforts in the Senate.
Hanes is now acting Deputy Administrator for Policy in the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, an arm of the Justice Department that supports research, training and programs to support juvenile justice programs throughout the country.